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Thread: Looking for low power device capable of running linux.

  1. #1
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    Default Looking for low power device capable of running linux.

    Hello. I am looking for ideas to my new project. A low powered thing to act as a router - including wireless access point. Samba share for my wd media live. And lastly a bit of torrenting. The device should be Linux compatible as well. My current setup is a netgear wndr3700 router and a netgear Readynas Duo with a external usb drive attached. It works but the nas is painfully slow and does use a full 20 watt and does not seem to scale during load. So it is always using 20 watt. The total wattage for all bits it about 35 watt. Looking to replace the nas it had me thinking i could combine all devices into one. I've been looking at both fitpc2 and the newly announced Excito B3 Both seems it could do the job and consuming only around 5-10 watt. They are passively cooled so fitted with a SSD they would be dead silent which will be great news for my girlfriend ;-) Each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Fitpc2i uses and internal usb adapter with a Realtek 3070 chipset which does not have the best reputation when running with linux, but is has more ram that excito and the cpu is clocked at a higher speed. Excito has place for 3.5 inch devices. They both "feature" the same price tag which is much to high and i would rather not spend around 700$ on this project :-) So the question (yes i know it has been a long read already) Where do i find the bits and parts to build my own little machine. I am not looking into dedicated netbooks but everything else will work for me. The machine will be headless so no requirements into video spec at all. If you have any ideas i would like to know about watt info and your general expediences. It must be possible to do this without having to spend to much money, or at least end up with a more flexible solution in the end :-)

    Regards

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by soehest View Post
    And lastly a bit of torrenting.
    They are passively cooled so fitted with a SSD they would be dead silent which will be great news for my girlfriend ;-)
    I wouldn't recommend torrenting with an SSD unless you're just using it to upload. The millions of small writes during downloading that torrents do could lead to an early demise of your SSD.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    I wouldn't recommend torrenting with an SSD unless you're just using it to upload. The millions of small writes during downloading that torrents do could lead to an early demise of your SSD.
    Correct me if im wrong, but when downloading a torrent such as a movie, it does so in blocks of 1 - 4 MB usually?, which is really not that many read /writes for an SSD, however not sure exactly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zeealpal View Post
    Correct me if im wrong, but when downloading a torrent such as a movie, it does so in blocks of 1 - 4 MB usually?, which is really not that many read /writes for an SSD, however not sure exactly.
    The "blocks" (known as chunks) are like work units and don't have anything to do with writes to the drive. The writes of that chunk however are many, continuous and occur through out a download of a chunk. This is why in a torrent it does not have to redownload the whole chunk if it is interrupted, it just checks the resulting checksum on completion to determine if it has to be redownloaded before reassembly of the file from the spanned chunks. Chunks also help determine which chunk is to be downloaded first and from where based on availability and speed. Chunk sizes can be from 32Kib - 8MiB with the default of most torrent creators being 512KiB. If you were to download using a SSD it would be advisable to point the torrent clients temp directory to a conventional HD and have the on completion destination to the SSD and that way it would only encounter one write cycle.

  5. #5
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    That depends on your bittorrent client and filesystem. If the client did a write() for every incoming packet that'd be bad, but the filesystem should buffer that, not writing blocks to disk until they're full (or a timeout passed).

    The trouble is the random access. Writing random 4k-blocks to an SSD with a much higher erase block size is an excellent way to find out if your wear leveling sucks.

  6. #6
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    The low power ARM devices usually have mediocre storage performance.

    If 25 W power consumption (without hard drives) is not too much, you may want to look into an HP MicroServer N36L. Get an Atheros USB wifi adapter and use it as access point. It even has two PCIe slots so you can install additional network cards.

    Btw. the Ralink 3070 works well with the rt2800 driver which is included in kernel 2.6.37-rc1 an later. Earlier kernels had only the staging driver from Ralink which indeed did not work great.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by soehest View Post
    Hello.

    I am looking for ideas to my new project.

    A low powered thing to act as a router - including wireless access point.

    Samba share for my wd media live. And lastly a bit of torrenting.

    The device should be Linux compatible as well.

    My current setup is a netgear wndr3700 router and a netgear Readynas Duo with a external usb drive attached.

    It works but the nas is painfully slow and does use a full 20 watt and does not seem to scale during load.

    So it is always using 20 watt. The total wattage for all bits it about 35 watt.

    Looking to replace the nas it had me thinking i could combine all devices into one.

    I've been looking at both fitpc2 and the newly announced Excito B3

    Both seems it could do the job and consuming only around 5-10 watt. They are passively cooled so fitted with a SSD they would be dead silent which will be great news for my girlfriend ;-) Each have their own advantages and disadvantages.

    Fitpc2i uses and internal usb adapter with a Realtek 3070 chipset which does not have the best reputation when running with linux, but is has more ram that excito and the cpu is clocked at a higher speed.

    Excito has place for 3.5 inch devices. They both "feature" the same price tag which is much to high and i would rather not spend around 700$ on this project :-)

    So the question (yes i know it has been a long read already) Where do i find the bits and parts to build my own little machine.

    I am not looking into dedicated netbooks but everything else will work for me.

    The machine will be headless so no requirements into video spec at all.

    If you have any ideas i would like to know about watt info and your general expediences.

    It must be possible to do this without having to spend to much money, or at least end up with a more flexible solution in the end :-)

    Regards
    thats simple then... less than 4 Watts total use at Full Load

    potentially slightly more with a real HD in there and the screen going atthe same time, ALot less headless and using a LAN mapped drive to an external FreeNAS box somewhere, need to add that power usage in OC if the freeNAS is also on 24/7...

    see:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOSluW6vHL8

    https://www.genesi-usa.com/store/
    Efika MX Smarttop $249
    Efika MX Smartbook $349

    "The Efika MX Smarttop is a cloud computer with the following specifications:

    Freescale i.MX515 (ARM Cortex-A8 800MHz)
    3D Graphics Processing Unit
    WXGA display support (HDMI)
    Multi-format HD video decoder and D1 video encoder
    512MB RAM
    8GB Internal SSD
    10/100Mbit/s Ethernet
    802.11 b/g/n WiFi
    SDHC card reader
    2x USB 2.0 ports
    Audio jacks for headset
    Built-in speaker
    Size: 160x115x20mm
    Weight: 250 grams



    Linux installation and support for Efika MX is available here:
    http://www.powerdeveloper.org/platforms/efikamx/linux

    Additional Linux distribution support will be added as validation occurs.



    Special Offer
    Get one year of Google Apps Premier with a purchase of the Efika MX Smarttop Google Apps Edition."




  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    I wouldn't recommend torrenting with an SSD unless you're just using it to upload. The millions of small writes during downloading that torrents do could lead to an early demise of your SSD.
    Ahh i see good point which has been taken into consideration. It will mainly be used for uploading though so i should be safe. Have been reading up on the subject and there are some things to take into consideration thanks for the heads up :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post

    If 25 W power consumption (without hard drives) is not too much, you may want to look into an HP MicroServer N36L. Get an Atheros USB wifi adapter and use it as access point. It even has two PCIe slots so you can install additional network cards.
    Thanks for the tip but searching a bit more i found this: http://blog.samat.org/p/Hardware-rev...-ProLiant-N36L According to this review it uses 60 watt on load on around 45 at idle. This is to much (i actually have a machine i built years ago with the same specs)

    Quote Originally Posted by popper View Post
    thats simple then... less than 4 Watts total use at Full Load


    https://www.genesi-usa.com/store/
    Efika MX Smarttop $249
    Efika MX Smartbook $349

    Wow must say it meets the power requirement and even lower :-) This solution unfortunately has the same problem as many of the other prebuilt machines i have looked at. It is missing an ethernet port for wired routing :-)

    This expierence has not been painless. I've used hours and hours browsing around for something that could be used for my router/nas project. Sites of interest have been narrowed down to:

    http://www.aleutia.com/ - low power spec's but only one ethernet port
    http://www.fit-pc.com/web/ - low power spec's but very expensive
    http://www.excito.com/ - prebuilt router/nas solution running 1.2ghz arm. This still looks nice but also kind of expensive.
    http://www.mini-itx.com/ - site with both prebuilt solutions and low power motherbards
    http://www.linuxtech.net/features/in...tdp-comparison - site showing the expected power usage of motherboards with Atom cpu's. As shown the pineview lineup using nm10 chipset is the best choice when thinking of low power solutions.

    Looking down the pineview lane there are many different motherboards. Even a few with both wifi and dual gigabit (http://www.zotacusa.com/products/motherboards/intel) but they are expensive in Europe (and hard to find) and the power win needs to be compared to the price of the final product. Also the wifi solution is a bit odd. Most boards has a pci mini express interface and a pci interface. The pci will be occupied by an extra ethernet port which leaves only the awkward pci mini express interface for wireless. Theese are designed for use in laptops which have a built in antenna for the case. Now how to i get antennas in a miniatx case Looking around i found this: http://www.titanwirelessonline.com/U...l-p/pt-sma.htm. Now this is not something my local hardware pusher sells so i will have to order it somewhere else. This became a long read again sorry. This is what i did buy:

    http://www.intel.com/products/deskto...O-overview.htm
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/Antec_ISK300-65
    http://www.ocztechnology.com/product...ata_ii_2_5-ssd
    http://www.proshop.dk/showproduct.aspx?prodid=188458

    The new parts will arrive in the next few days. I have no clue if i will ever get the wireless link up running, this will probabaly be the hard part. The expected power consumption will be around 20-25 watt. The advantage from this build is that it is more flexible than the prebuilt ones. I will update the thread about how the build goes if anyone is interested? If someone has other ideas please feel welcome to come with more imputs :-)

  9. #9
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    The 25 W figure is without disks, if you install four 2 TB disks like in the review you linked to, then of course the power consumption will be higher.

    The WD disks in the review each consume about 7 W under load.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post
    The 25 W figure is without disks, if you install four 2 TB disks like in the review you linked to, then of course the power consumption will be higher.

    The WD disks in the review each consume about 7 W under load.
    Must admit i looked on that review really fast. 60 watt on load scared me off. Have taken another look and the tpd is only 15 watt for the cpu which is quite good. The board also has two pci slots which could help me a lot on the wireless part. But still the watt numbers puzzle me. Another comment for a review states 25-35 watt when running. Assuming the power usage scales with the cpu it will run at 25 watt idle, and reach 40 watt (+15 for the cpu) under load. Still a bit over my expected power consumption for the parts i bought. Speaking of that. I may get other numbers when the rig is assembled with both wifi card and pci card installed :-)

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